In 2014 Aapsara community was approached by Hands-On Institute to discuss about possible establishment of community homestay. Several meetings followed thereafter. After mapping expectation and vision an agreement was made to move ahead. The process started with 7 days homestay management training and a familiarisation trip ; following this, a 9 member management committee was formed and Aapsara Community Dalit Homestay was formally registered. Following the registration support was provided by Vyas muncipality to buy beds for 10 families. In the next 2 years, Hands-On Institute organized 11 group trips that helped familiarise and provided important feedback to help enhance our service. An exposure trip to Sirubari Community Homestay for the host families was also organized. By 2018, independent groups and invividual have visited the homestay. Approximately 300 people from 18 countries have experience our hospitality.
Why Dalit Home Stay
This is Nepal’s first community homestay led by Dalit community and your coming to live with ‘so called untouchables’ would be a positive gesture and would gives confidence to the community who have been supressed for ages. It will will disrupt the existing social hierarchy in the village. The community aims to end caste-based discrimination, increase income and boost the self-worth of the Dalit community through homestay.
The community homestay has not only increased the income of the host families but also it has boosted the morale of the entire community. The families who host guests are often living in poverty. For them, an additional $200 USD a year means that they can send their children to school, get professional medical treatment, or buy a new goat, all of which can change lives. A part of this amount will go to a community fund which will be used in the welfare of the village. More than economic benefits, the homestay has revived feelings of self-worth among local community members by facilitating a relationship based on equality between tourists and host families. Moreover, through appreciation of knowledge, values and life-style guests empower us.
Our host families welcome you as much more than just a guest. We involve you as a friend in our daily lives, and invite you to participate in our local festivals, celebrations, and every day work. We promise an authentic Nepali stay, which we will try our best to make the most memorable one for you. As strong believers of the Nepali saying ‘ Athithi Devo Bhava’; which means ‘ guest are gods’, we will leave no strings un pulled to make this trip the most tremendous one. A visit far from the busyness and rush of the world, we will try to give you the closest taste of the real Nepal.
The Community- Aapshawara
Between Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal, there is a warm, hilly landscape full of cultural vibrancy and a wealth of natural wonders. The city of Damauli, near the Newa village and tourist hub of Bandipur, is the beginning of a journey that takes the traveler to a community that longs for inclusion to the wider world.
The village, Aapshara is located in between Pokhara and Kathmandu in the hills of Tanahun district. With hilly landscape and full of cultural and typical Nepali lifestyle, Aapshawara Village is just a 1.5 hours of walk or 20 min drive from Damauli (district headquarter of Tanahun). The name of this village comes from two words- aap (means mango) and shawara (means cultuvating land). Infact the village has a lot of indegenous mango trees. You could view Annapurna and Manaslu mountain range form the upper cluster of the village. The homestay homes are little scarter .
In this senic village, most of the people are engaged in farming and seasonal migrant to India for their livelihood. Currently, twelve families are officially registered as host families. This village can host up to 35 guests at a time. The village also has a program hall that can accomodate about 30 people to organize workshop or taining. The homestay offers a platform to learn about practices of caste system and learn stories of Dalit who have been suppressed and discriminated for centuries. Moreover, the homestay provides an opportunity to live like locals and learn about rural life. The village is 60 kms from Pokhara – a major tourist destination.
The Management Commette
The Aapshawara Community Dalit homestay is governed by a 11-members elected by the host families. The committee takes decisions of the community and is also is responsible to add the infrastructures in the village as well as the distribution on coming guests among different houses. Below is the details of the committee: